Donald Trumps signature strategy is the use of false equivalence. He did everything he could to steal the 2020 election, including fomenting a violent coup. Despite the rulings of more than 60 state judges, many of them Republicans, rejecting claims of election fraud, Trumps main story is that it was Biden and the Democrats who stole the election.
He importuned state officials to rig the vote count. His contends it was Democrats who promoted improper voting. Trump is a master of making up facts; his favorite slogan when challenged is Fake news! You get the idea.
On the anniversary of the January 6th attempted coup, the respectable right-wing press tried to have it both ways. The assault on the Capitol was of course deplorable, but both parties had some legitimate grievances about how the 2020 election was conducted. Passing a partisan voting rights act, usurping the long-standing authority of states to run elections, will only worsen divisions and confidence in democracy. So both sides are culpable.
This purveying of a narrative of false equivalence, while professing opposition to the violent overthrow of the Constitution, is a kind of soft fascism that gives aid and comfort to the real thing. Todays Exhibits A, B, and C can be found in The Wall Street Journal. Heres a classic editorial slyly titled Overturning the Next Election:
The anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is Washingtons theme of the week, and waves of righteous anger will roll across the Mall. We agree the riot was disgraceful, but then why not rewrite the law that encouraged Donald Trumps supporters to think Congress could overturn the 2020 election?
Were referring to the Electoral Count Act, the ambiguous 19th-century statute that purports to allow for a majority of Congress to disqualify a states electors after the Electoral College has voted.
Democrats run both houses of Congress and they are in the best position to put the Electoral Count Act on the agenda. But they have preferred to press for partisan advantage through their various bills to overturn state election laws.
But there would be Republican support for ending Congresss increasingly destabilizing role in presidential elections.
In fact, the Electoral Count Act had nothing to do with the invasion of the Capitol, much less encouraging it. Trump encouraged it. Repealing the 1887 act, though marginally helpful in preventing a scenario of the vice president refusing to certify state results, would not prevent the next coup attempt if Republicans remain bent on overthrowing elections. State Republican officials could still repress voting or alter results. And there is nothing partisan about voting rights, unless it is one party that denies them.
As for state election laws, the federal government has been overriding racist suppression of the franchise since the Civil War amendments to the Constitution, and in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was gutted by partisan Republican judges. The Journal wants to deflect attention from what is really at work, and drum up support for a fools errand.
Keep this site free and open for all to read...
Heres another one, titled About Those 300 Stolen Ballots , which has to win some kind of award for far-fetched conclusions based on skimpy anecdotes. The editorial begins by reporting that police in Torrance, California, recovered a bag of stolen mail in the car of a thief. He wasnt trying to rig the election, just to steal mail.
The Journal strings that tale together with 300 other mail ballots from a Pennsylvania 2020 state Senate election, and 1,400 challenged ballots from a Florida election. Conclusion: The whole system is awash in challenged or misplaced mail ballots.
Therefore: [W]idespread mail voting and ballot harvesting put enormous slack in the election system, creating room for events that undermine public trust. Keep that in mind when Democrats insist that to save democracy they need to pass H.R.1, which would overrule state laws (even postmark requirements) on mail voting.
But for sheer chutzpah and inversion of reality, this one takes the cake. Written as a comment on President Bidens January 6 speech, the editorial is titled Biden on Democracy for Democrats: The President Seems to Think Democracy Is a Partisan Project.
The editorial begins with the Journals signature feint to the center: One welcome theme was Mr. Bidens assertion that our democracy held last Jan. 6 and is more durable than critics aver. We agree, and this puts him at odds with the current fashion on the intellectual and media left that a coup detat is already underway for 2024.
But the editorial then argues the following:
[W]here Mr. Biden failed, and fatally so as a unifying political project, was the way he conflated the fate of democracy with the electoral fate of Democrats. The most obvious example was his sleight-of-hand association of the Jan. 6 riot with voting-rule changes this year in Georgia and Texas.
Right now, in state after state, new laws are being written not to protect the vote, but to deny it. Not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert it, Mr. Biden claimed.
The very idea that Bidens job right now is to defend democracy as a unifying political project is preposterous, given that all the assaults on democracy are coming from Republicans. Bidens job is to protect democracy from Republicans, by rolling over them, the same way Lyndon Johnson protected democracy from Southern racists and Lincoln protected democracy from slaveholders.
Then comes the biggest lie of all:
The [voting] changes in these states are restrictive only compared to the wide-open rules that prevailed in the pandemic emergency of 2020. The state changes typically offer more opportunities for early voting and mail-in voting than they did before 2020. Mr. Biden diminishes his defense of democracy by associating it with the partisan electoral priorities of House Democrats.
In philosopher Harry Frankfurts classic book On Bullshit, Frankfurt explains that the difference between bullshit and ordinary lying is that the bullshitter is indifferent to truth and believes his own bullshit. Exactly so. Thus, The Wall Street Journaland Donald Trump.
Keep this site free and open for all to read...
As well-dressed enablers of fascism, the editorial writers of the Journal have as much blood on their hands as the thugs who stormed the Capitol.